Asteroid Flyby Yesterday.

Last night, asteroid asteroid 2004 BL86 passed about 750,000 miles (1.2 million kilometers) from Earth.

Nothing to worry about however, that distance is about three times farther away than the moon.

Asteroid 2004 BL86 compared to CN Tower and a cruise ship

(Earl Cabuhat/CBC)

It will be the largest asteroid to pass this close to Earth until asteroid 1999 AN10 flies by in 2027. Although, it isn’t really a huge asteroid, it would still cause a lot of damage if it were to hit us.  The asteroid/comet that ended the dinosaurs was about six (6) miles across.

Although, if you are in the L.A. area and have a chance, you can visit Griffith Observatory.  They have an exhibit that allows you to crash a meteor/asteroid/comet into the Earth and change the speed/composition, etc.  It is kind of fun to crash things into the planet.  They might have one or two hundred other things to do, but that is a fun one.

The asteroid orbits the sun every 1.84 years, so it will be by again if you missed it last night.

– Ex astris, scientia –

I am and avid amateur astronomer and intellectual property attorney in Pasadena, California and I am a Rising Star as rated by Super Lawyers Magazine.  As a former Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy, I am a proud member of the Armed Service Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association working to aid all active duty and veterans in our communities. Connect with me on Google +, or by email.

Norman

A Potential Asteroid Disaster.

Yesterday’s flood in my house doesn’t compare to the potential disaster that Russian astrophysicist Vladimir Lipunov says is in store for us.

Lipunov claims that a mountain-sized asteroid is on a collision course with Earth.

The asteroid, designated 2014 UR116,  comes close to the Earth every three years. Lipunov says it’s difficult to calculate the orbit of big objects like 2014 UR116 because their trajectories are constantly  altered by various gravitational forces. “We need to permanently track this asteroid, because even a small mistake in calculations could have serious consequences.”

At 370 meters in diameter, the impact from an asteroid that large would not be in the “dino killer” size (that one is estimated to have been between 3 to 10 miles across (5 and 15 kilometers).

 

However, you would not want to be in the immediate vicinity of an impact.  The odds of impact the last time this particular asteroid passed us was about 1/250,000.  Actually that is better odds than the lottery, just hope we don’t have the winning ticket.

– Ex astris, scientia –

I am and avid amateur astronomer and intellectual property attorney in Pasadena, California and I am a Rising Star as rated by Super Lawyers Magazine.  As a former Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy, I am a proud member of the Armed Service Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association working to aid all active duty and veterans in our communities. Connect with me on Google +, or by email.

Norman

Send Your Name To Space.

You can have your name engraved onto a spacecraft headed to the asteroid belt.  NASA is inviting people around the world to submit their names to be etched on a microchip aboard the Origins-Spectral Interpretation Resource Identification Security Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) spacecraft headed to the asteroid Bennu in 2016.

The “Messages to Bennu!” microchip will travel to the asteroid aboard NASA’s spacecraft.

The robotic mission will spend more than two years at the 1,760-foot (500-meter)-wide asteroid. The spacecraft will collect a sample of Bennu’s surface and return it to Earth in a sample return capsule.

If you would like to have your name travel to space by participating in “Messages to Bennu!” you should submit their name online no later than Sept. 30 here.

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After you submit your name, you will be able to download and print a certificate documenting your  participation in the OSIRIS-REx mission.  If you  “follow” or “like” the mission on Facebook you will receive updates on the location of your name in space from launch time until the asteroid samples return to Earth in 2023, along with mission progress and late-breaking news through regular status updates.

The OSIRIS-REx mission’s goal is to address basic questions about the composition of the very early solar system, and aid efforts to identify the population of potentially hazardous near-Earth objects, as well as those suitable for asteroid exploration missions.

It will also collect a minimum of 2 ounces (60 grams) of surface material and return it to Earth.  After that the spacecraft will be placed into a long-term solar orbit around the sun, along with the microchip and every name on it.

– Ex astris, scientia –

I am and avid amateur astronomer and intellectual property attorney in Pasadena, California and I am a Rising Star as rated by Super Lawyers Magazine.  As a former Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy, I am a proud member of the Armed Service Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association working to aid all active duty and veterans in our communities. Connect with me on Google +

Norman

I was kinda right.

Last week I was wondering if the QE2 asteroid that was passing by Earth my be trailing some debris that could stray into our atmosphere.

It really wasn’t possible due to the great distance away from us that QE2 passed, but it was a fun speculation.  Actually, it wasn’t even that much of a speculation.  According to NASA about 16 percent of asteroids are binary or triple systems.   Well now it turns out that QE2 has its own moon…sort of.

Radar images take during the flyby reveal that QE2’s moon is about 2,000 feet (600 meters) wide. If moon of QE2 (must give it a better name) hit the Earth, it would be bad day.

But, evidently, you must be this big to destroy the Earth.

The next pass of the QE2 and moon of QE2 (really, really must get better name!) July 12, 2028 it will be much farther away from the Earth at 45 million miles.

At least this has the major governments interested in early detection.  Had QE2 been on a collision course, the only thing we could have done is duck and cover.

– Ex astris, scientia –

I am and avid amateur astronomer and intellectual property attorney in Pasadena, California. As a former Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy, I am a proud member of the Armed Service Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association working to aid all active duty and veterans in our communities. Connect with me on Google +

Norman

Another swing and a miss.

Asteroid 1998 QE2 will fly by the Earth on May 31 (or June 1st depending upon where you live) at a distance of 3.6 million miles or 5.8 million km.
The size comparison that most everyone is using is that the 1.7 mile or  2.7km long rock is 9 times the size of the Queen Elizabeth II ocean liner.
I am not sure how big that is, but the graphic above puts in a little better perspective for me.
Moon
Additionally, if you are worried that it might hit the Earth, the moon is fifteen times closer at about 230,800 miles.  So, not much of a chance of impact.
However, I am very interested in seeing if there are any little companions travelling with the asteroid.  If you recall, a few hours after the last asteroid that flew by us, a fairly large chunk of something hit in Siberia making a very large explosion.
https://i0.wp.com/images.sdentertainer.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/asteroid2.jpg
Could it be that this wanderer through our neighbouring space is also bringing unwanted guests?  It will be hard to tell until something happens.  We currently don’t have the technology to detect small asteroids and/or comet that are small.  Hopefully, the only thing that happens is that all the scientists get great images, spectra and radar information to work with.

– Ex astris, scientia –

I am and avid amateur astronomer and intellectual property attorney in Pasadena, California. As a former Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy, I am a proud member of the Armed Service Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association working to aid all active duty and veterans in our communities. Connect with me on Google +

Norman

How to observe asteroid 2012 DA14 this Friday.

At 150 feet (45 meters) wide, asteroid 2012 DA14 is about half the size of a football field. It’s also moving at a blistering 17,450 mph (28,100 km/h).  The asteroid will pass just 27,630 kilometers (17,168 miles) from the surface of the Earth.

https://i2.wp.com/www.nasa.gov/images/content/724125main_2012da14rp36-full.jpg

Yes, it will pass in the ring of geosynchronous satellites around the Earth.  No, we won’t be hit (cue the Bruce Willis references).  But… how can I see it?

 https://i0.wp.com/www.csmonitor.com/var/ezflow_site/storage/images/media/images/0707-bruce-willis-asteroid/8275526-1-eng-US/0707-bruce-willis-asteroid_full_600.jpg
Actually, the best way you will be able to see it is here.  If you have a telescope, all you will be able to see, maybe, is some light.  A lot of astronomers, both amateur and professional will be taking images to get light curves.  A light curve is a graph of light intensity of a celestial object or region, as a function of time.
File:201 Penelope light curve.png
These light curves help determine a lot about asteroids from throughout the solar system.  Even though we cannot see the asteroid, using the light curves you can actually make a computer generated 3D model of the shape of the asteroid.
If you are near a radio telescope, you might see a couple of pixels, but in the end.  Watch on the web from the NASA site listed above.

– Ex astris, scientia –

I am and avid amateur astronomer and intellectual property attorney.  As a former Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy, I am a proud member of the Armed Service Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association working to aid all active duty and veterans in our communities.  Connect with me on Google +

Norman